Love First, an engaging approach to children’s ministry, is pleased to announce their new home at the Episcopal Parish of St. John the Evangelist in Hingham, Massachusetts.
With the tagline of Love God – Love Neighbor – Love Self, this unique children’s formation program is now used in over 40 congregations across the United States, Canada, and Great Britain, and continues to grow in scope and popularity. What resonates with both children and parents alike is that Love First focuses on teaching children to know and live what Jesus tells us are the essentials: to love God, to love others, and to love ourselves.
“Love First has never been about ministry in theory, but about coming to life in practice,” says Colette Potts, author of Love First: A Children’s Ministry for the Whole Church (Church Publishing, 2018). “While I love designing programs to engage children and adults, ministry is ultimately relational.”
That’s where St. John’s fits in. With a vibrant and thriving Sunday School on Boston’s South Shore with over 130 children registered, St. John’s has used the Love First curriculum since the fall of 2019.
Developed by Potts, a family therapist and educator, and her husband Matthew, an Episcopal priest and professor at Harvard Divinity School, the concept behind Love First grew out of a desire to make children more visible, parents’ desires for a more relevant and meaningful church experience, and teachers’ desires for a curriculum that left them excited and empowered.
For St. John’s rector, the Rev. Tim Schenck, Love First was the perfect complement to the parish’s approach to ministry. “I hear from parents all the time about how much their kids love coming to church. This is the way it should be! Colette and Matthew understand the importance of engaging children in fresh, exciting ways; ways that truly do impact the entire parish community.”
This new partnership means a collaborative ministry that will allow new ideas and lessons to be tested in real classrooms before being made available to the broader church community. Building upon Love First’s stated goals of fostering intergenerational relationships and service; empowering and encouraging lay leadership; acknowledging children as ministers whose work can relieve the suffering of others; and focusing on Biblical faith, congregations everywhere will benefit from this relationship between Love First and St. John’s.
St. John’s will host an inaugural Love First Workshop on Saturday, May 9, 2020. This gathering offers an opportunity for Love First congregations to share ideas and resources, hear about new initiatives from Colette and Matthew, and worship together. It is also open to those seeking to learn more about the Love First approach. For registration information, visit www.lovefirstworkshop.eventbrite.com
For more information about the Love First program and to learn how to bring its principles to your community, visit www.lovefirstproject.org.